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Published on 26.11.2013 at 8:00pm

Pixar Animation Studios releases RenderMan Studio 18, which is to incorporate all of the performance and feature advantages of RenderMan Pro Server 18. It delivers an intuitive toolset that allows the creation of highest-quality 3D animation and visual effects.

The major features in RenderMan Studio 18:

  • RenderMan for Maya – Brings with power of RenderMan to the Maya workflow.
  • Slim – powerful visual shader authorising and management tool.
  • "it" – Image viewer and scriptable compositor has been totally rewritten, providing improved performance and usability for shading and lighting.
  • Pixar’s RenderMan – An embedded renderer based on the latest technology.
  • LocalQueue – Local render management.
  • Tractor – Job management solution for render farms.

Support for RPS 18
RenderMan Studio supports the feature set of RenderMan Pro Server 18. This includes significant performance gains for polygons and volumes. RenderMan Studio has new lights, shaders, and tools to take full advantage of the latest features.

Accelerated Re-Rendering with Path Tracing
Full support for path tracing for accelerated look development provided by the Re-Rendering system. New workflows for shading and lighting are now much faster and more intuitive.

Geometric Area Lights
Geometric Area Lights allows the user to turn any geometric primitive into a light source. Lights created this way are not only highly realistic and capable of creating incredibly complicated lighting effects, but geometric area lights are much easier to lighters to control with a feature called "unified sampling". They are also much faster.

RenderMan Studio now ships with a library of Geometric Area Lights for both RFM and Slim.
Supported features:

  1. All light types: Distant, Spot, Rectangular, Disk, Sphere, Cylinder
  2. Emissive geometry: Now any piece of geometric can be an area light
  3. Blockers for Geometric Area Lights
  4. Unified Sampling for easier light setup and accelerated rendering


Master Lighting Panel
A new lighting panel provides easy control over the lights in any scene and is especially useful for re-rendering sessions. This panel allows the modification of multiple lights simultaneously. Creating bookmarks allows the user to store light settings. And the influence of individual lights can be quickly displayed.

Pre-Light AOVs
AOVs can be written out per light to aid compositing workflows, with arbitrary outputs per each light. The feature also supports "Light Groups" and represents a major overhaul of the light system in RenderMan Studio.

Better Subsurface Scattering
RPS 18 provides a new and better way of creating realistic skin with Beam Diffusion Subsurface Scattering. The new model produces results similar to "quantized diffusion," but that are numerically stable for animation. Shader libraries in RFM and Slim now support the improved beam diffusion subsurface scattering technology for the creation of better looking skin and other effects.

Image converted using ifftoany

Object Instancing
RenderMan Studio now supports Object Instancing through the normal Maya Instancing workflows, for more efficient rendering of heavily ray-traced scenes.

Enhanced Volumes
RenderMan’s ability to process volumes has been optimized with hybrid sampling techniques. Because volumes near the camera don’t need to be sampled as much as other elements in the scene, the REYES hider has been leveraged to deliver outstanding speed-ups whenever you need to fly a camera through a few explosions, a tornado, or whatever volumetric hijinks a shot demands.

More Efficient Polygons
Polygonal meshes have been overhauled, reducing memory requirements significantly. Users can expect anywhere from 4x to 10x memory reduction when rendering complex polygonal meshes, depending on the complexity of the scene. The new implementation ray traces complex polygonal meshes up to 2 to 3 times faster with displacement and 20% to 35% faster when there is no displacement.


Additional Features:

  • Dramatic Memory Enhancements for Polygonal Meshes
  • Support for Layered Glass
  • New Ocean Shader
  • New "HoldOut Shader" for catching shadows for compositing
  • The image tool, "it" has been completely rewritten from the ground up, and is faster and more feature rich than before.
  • Use the new "loosely bound co-shaders" to apply a single material over multiple materials. For instance, cover a car with snow with one co-shader attachment.


For more information about this product please click "Read more" at the bottom of the page.